Landscaping

Silver maple dropping black things

Q: We have a silver maple that is dropping dark black things. It is coming from the limbs that are in the early budding stage. Any ideas? A: Wow, I had never noticed this before you pointed it out. I...

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Pruning wisteria for more blooms

Q: I need advice on pruning wisteria. These limbs are twenty feet long but they produce blooms very lightly every summer. Do I prune in winter or summer? A: Both! At the end of each growing season your vine will...

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Slow decline of Japanese maples in pots

Q: My two Japanese maples have been growing in these pots for ten years. They have slowly declined each year. They lose leaves very early in fall and they each have small limbs that die every year, a little at...

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Why I Do Not Care For Bradford Pear

It has pretty white flowers and glossy green leaves; it grows easily just about anywhere. So why do I recommend against planting it? It WILL eventually start dropping big limbs. For a lot of people, the flowers stink. If it...

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Boxwood Alternatives

Q: I have a topiary boxwood that has succumbed to boxwood blight. I know one can’t replant a boxwood in the same site but are there other shrubs that I could put in the same place? A: Boxwood blight probably...

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Planting lantana seed

Q: Do you know of a company that sells lantana seeds by mail? A: I found several places online that sell the seeds. I have occasionally purchased plants and seeds on Amazon, but on at least two occasions the seeds...

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Good example of tree healing a wound

Q: A few years ago my neighbor hit this tree with his car. He covered the damaged spot with tar and we thought everything was fine until a few days ago when I noticed a patch of raised bark on...

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Bradford pear pruned severely

Q: Recently our Bradford pear tree was pruned to this extreme. Will it still grow and bloom? A: Bradford pear is a tough tree to kill so your tree will probably recover. The person who did the pruning thought this...

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Nice use of English ivy in a landscape

Q: I have been working on my yard for twenty years and have gone through a lot of trial and error. It is hilly and wooded and shaded. I’ve always had ivy for ground cover and have settled with azaleas,...

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Coneflower rosette mite identification

Q: Why are there not any petals on my coneflowers? The plant right next to it is beautiful, full of cones with petals. A: You have coneflower rosette mite. Here are the typical symptoms: > cone has tufts, flower petals,...

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Oakleaf hydrangea has two colors of green leaf

Q: What are your thoughts about these unusual leaves? A: Wow, neat pictures! This is called a chimera. Basically, the bud that produced one of these leaves had a mutation in its cells, causing some of those cells to grow...

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Are brown limbs always sure death for Leyland cypress?

Q: We came back to our home this fall to see our 25-year-old Leyland Cypress & 10-year-old Sky Pencil holly dying. Any idea as to cause? Any hope? A: They both look like they were damaged by dry weather. Leyland...

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Tomato leaf miner control

Q: What is this on my tomato leaf? A: It’s the trail left by a tomato leaf miner. Leaf miner adults are small, black and yellow flies. Eggs are inserted in leaves and the resulting larvae feed between leaf surfaces,...

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Should I Cut My Lenten Roses Back

Q: We have lots of very healthy Lenten roses and autumn ferns. My husband wants to cut off all the leaves and fronds from the plants. I think they look great just the way they are. Is there any reason...

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Should I Shred My Leaf Pile

Q: I have a heavily wooded lot. I take the fallen leaves off my grass and move them into an area with mature oak trees. The piles are four feet high when I’m finished. Is it better to leave the...

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Wood Chips As Mulch

Q: I am having some trees removed and would like to have them chipped up and spread around my plants and flower beds. Is this a good idea?  A: Arborist wood chips are an excellent landscape mulch! Unlike other mulch...

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Vines To Stop Erosion

Q: I have a vertical red clay bank that is several feet high and twenty feet long. Is there any vine I can plant at the top or bottom to stop erosion?  A: I would compare English ivy, Confederate jasmine,...

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Should I Get A Backyard Greenhouse?

Q: I am considering getting a small backyard greenhouse but I am concerned about it getting too hot.  A: A greenhouse is fun to have but sometimes you have to learn by experience what it takes to cool and heat...

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